Inglourious Basterds Round Table Round-Up: Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender has the unfortunate task of playing the English dude who, for once, isn’t perfectly smooth. I’ll let you see what I mean when Inglourious Basterds hits theaters on Friday. Either way, Fassbender plays Archie Hicox with the kind of finesse reserved for Bond-like characters (which makes his scenes hit that much harder), and if Daniel Craig weren’t so damn awesome I’d petition for the hiring of Fassbender immediately.
Like his colleagues, Fassbender admired Tarantino prior to working with him. “He was an idol of mine. When I first started out when I was 18 I did a version of Reservoir Dogs in my town.” Yes, that’s right. Fassbender and his friends apparently did a “stage version in a nightclub…I played Mr. Pink and directed it as well. It was a fantastic.”
As far as inspiration for the part, Quentin seemed to know exactly where the character came from and where he wanted him to go. “He gave me all the ammunition for the character. It’s all written for the page. This is like a young George Saunders, so I went off and watched all of George Saunders’ films.”
Fassbender spoke briefly about one of the more important scenes in the film, a scene that involves him, a couple of the basterds, Diane Kruger, and a few Nazis. The scene takes place in a claustrophobic bar and plays out as one of the more tense scenes in recent memory. “We spent two weeks doing that. We had rehearsed it for like three days before that but we must have done that scene I don’t know how many hundred times but it was great because Quentin allows you to do these long takes as well, so you do these ten to eleven minute takes.”
Fassbender also had the distinct pleasure of being one of only two actors that got to work with Mike Meyers, who makes a small cameo appearance as a British General. “He stayed in his sort of accent and character throughout the day,” Fassbender said of Meyers. “He said, ‘this is nice for me,’ because for once, he is not at the helm of everything. You know, writing, producing, starring.”
But at the end of the day, what’s most interesting about Fassbender and his character is the unconventional take that Quentin has on the tired old British Hero archetype. And that’s one of the many things that’s so amazing about Inglourious. It’s, at once, a uniquely American film and a film of vast culture, tolerance, and understanding. “I think there is something both dashing and sort of absurd about that character, and I think there is something really endearing and ridiculous. I tried to take it as far as I could,” Fassbender stated. “I wasn’t at the screening in London, unfortunately, but I was just talking to Quentin about it and he was like, ‘they were cracking up for the scene and they really liked it.’”
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